|A vintage photo of the JPL rocketry team taking a break from motor-testing in the Arroyo Seco. Yes, those are sandbags. Photo credit: NASA/JPL|
The little-known stories of California Institute of Technology’s rocket-development programs in the 1930s and ‘40s at its Jet Propulsion Laboratory will be told by historian Erik M. Conway at the next quarterly meeting of the Altadena Historical Society.
The program will be at 7:30 p.m. Monday Jan. 22 at the Altadena Community Center, 730 E. Altadena Drive, and is free and open to the public.
The Historical Society’s current exhibit, “Five Men Inspired by the San Gabriels,” will be open prior to and after the program.
“Caltech’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Altadena’s northwest corner is often known as a center of planetary exploration, but it was originally founded to develop rocket technology in the 1930s,” said Conway, a JPL staff historian.
“Far less known is that Caltech had a second rocket project during World War II that ultimately spun off what is now the China Lake Naval Air Weapons Center. In my talk, I’ll tell the story of these two rocket projects and suggest why they took such very different paths.”